The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) can now introduce fines of up to £500,000 for breaches of the Data Protection Act.
The new regulations, introduced this week on 6th April 2010, is as a result of the increased numbers of serious data breaches that have hit the headlines. Already in 2010, we have seen 10 such cases, including an incident where confidential and sensitive patient information was found in bin bags outside a supermarket by a member of the public.
With these tougher new penalties now in place, private and public sector businesses are being warned to keep an eye on all confidential customer and corporate information.
Previously, the ICO had the power to fine just £5,000 for serious breaches. This huge increase shows just how seriously data protection is being considered. It is hoped the new measures act as an effective deterrent to improve information and data security within the UK economy.
The Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, said;
“Getting data protection right has never been more important than it is today. When things go wrong, a security breach can cause real harm and distress to thousands of people
“These penalties are designed to act as a deterrent and to promote compliance with the Data Protection Act.
I remain committed to working with voluntary, public and private bodies to help them stick to the rules and comply with the Act. But I will not hesitate to use these tough new sanctions for the most serious cases where organisations disregard the law.”
For more advice from the ICO, click here.
To read Shred Easy’s top ten tips for protecting your business, click here.